Chipotle, Burritos And Bullets


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In the interest of full disclosure, I have never sampled the fare at Chipotle. The nationwide Tex-Mex chain did recently open an outlet here in Savannah, Ga., but I have yet to visit. I never bore them any particular culinary animus; it’s just that I can make margaritas in the kitchen, and I pour with a heavier hand. And if I want to gamble on Montezuma taking revenge on me, the no-name joint down the street delivers.

Recently, when a group of Texans sat down for a meal without stowing their weapons, Chipotle found itself at the center of a controversy it doubtless welcomed as excitedly as a visit from a health inspector with a hazmat suit.

Now, the controversy didn’t center on the diners-with-firearms; at least, it shouldn’t have. According to Texas law, not to mention the Bill of Rights, no laws were broken. In fact, in the aftermath of the ginned-up firestorm of publicity, the total number of people who were killed, maimed or even nicked by the muzzle brake of a firearm belonging to one of the Chipotle diners remained, at last count, zero. Despite the howling, tearing of hair and gnashing of teeth over what anti-Bill of Rights hate group “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America” called a “gun extremist group’s” display of “assault weapons” in a Dallas-area outlet, precisely no casualties were reported — beyond the fragile wits of anti-Bill of Rights hate group members. And let’s be honest, the kind of lonely joiner who shows up at a “Moms Demand” hate rally goes into hysterics when her beloved cat “Mr. Wigglesworthy” sharpens its claws on her Beanie Baby collection.

At first, Chipotle stood its ground, perhaps recognizing the attention-starved fearmongers like “Moms Demand” for what they are. While the chain didn’t issue a ringing endorsement of allowing law-abiding diners to dine while abiding by the law, I understand the danger of being too direct with the kind of people who fill their days trying to ruin everyone else’s. Unfortunately for the overwhelming majority of Texans and for liberty-minded potential Chipotle customers everywhere, “Moms Demand” and other liberal blowholes kept up their assault.

The pressure proved too much for Chipotle; and it folded like a cheap tortilla.

[W]e are respectfully asking that customers not bring guns into our restaurants… because the display of firearms in our restaurants has now created an environment that is potentially intimidating or uncomfortable for many of our customers, we think it is time to make this request.

The anti-Bill of Rights forces had successfully prevented people who posed no threat to them — a fact they had literally just proven in person — from continuing to pose no threat to them.

And that means Chipotle no longer welcomes me. Now, I’m not “calling for a boycott,” planning a “sit-in” or any other juvenile foot-stomping the left substitutes for intelligent discourse. If some suit in Chipotle’s marketing department analyzed the numbers and came up with “we’re better off not angering the liberals; some of their friends are union thugs and ‘occupiers,’” then that’s the company’s business model. I hope for its sake that it’s the right one. I wouldn’t risk a healthy portion of American business on palliating demonstrative liberals. They’re notoriously fickle; and they are infested with a high percentage of vegans, many of whom don’t dine at places like Chipotle.

As I mentioned, I have no problem with Chipotle’s decision to cater to the daisies among us. If it doesn’t want my business, then it doesn’t get my business. It might not even hurt the company all that badly. Starbucks cowed to the anti-Bill of Rights herd, and it doesn’t seem to be suffering from a shortage of slackers, malingerers and hipsters chugging down triple soy lattes while working on screenplays no one will ever read.

In a Constitutional society (like this one in which we live), no one should have to endure harassment for not doing anything wrong. In the case of Chiptole, the fear- and ignorance-based inflexibility of the anti-Bill of Rights crowd has created the entire “controversy.” And Chipotle chose fear-driven hysteria over common sense. It’s also publicly announced that its restaurants are “gun free” zones. I’ll remember that the next time I visit Taco Bell.

–Ben Crystal

Personal Liberty

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.

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